Beaches and Speeches
Greetings everyone! Its the middle of my 3rd week of teaching, and I’m getting used to the fact that as I write this before I go to bed on a Wednesday night, everyone in the states haven’t even begun their Wednesdays yet! The whole time difference is a little crazy!
I’ve really been getting into a routine here, which is nice. My last 4 classes, all beginning freshmen classes, start this week, so thats good! Next week I am doing show-and-tell week for all my classes, and that should be fun! It will give all my students something to talk about without making them uncomfortable, so hopefully they will begin to talk more!!
I am getting used to being a foreigner, and even though Dalian is quite big and their are lots of foreigners, I still stick out like a sore thumb. I thought that could be a negative part of living in Asia, but so far it has been fine! I have gotten used to saying hi to random people on the street, especially groups of girls who say hello, and when I say hello back burst into giggles! At the night market last weekend ( which is literally a market that only happens at night… the vendors come to sell everything from food to clothes to lamps and earphones, and are only there at night!) we were walking around and we walked past a restaurant where a large family was eating dinner. They all looked and smiled at me (which I’m also used to) and the head of the table stood up and said “Hello! Hello!!” The whole family was shocked and laughed when I said “Hello! Hello!” back!!! It’s a lot of fun to be able to do things like that. I was also given a free fried chicken on a stick when I walked by, and I asked my student how to say delicious in Chinese. Once I said that, the vendor thanked my student for bringing him an American to try his food!!!! We both laughed about how crazy and random was, and ate some really yummy chicken!
Last weekend one of my students took me to the beach, and it was sooooo much fun!!!! It was crowded even though the weather is beginning to cool down, and there was a carnival type place right next to the water. It was fun to walk around the shore, and look for baby crabs and seashells.
On the way back from the beach, we stopped by Walmart, and I found the import food wall, where I found pasta and spaghetti sauce!!!!! I’m saving it for one of the days when I’m really busy, probably tomorrow, because 7 out of my 10 classes happen on thursday and friday!!!!
Last night I was asked to judge a speech competition. We listened to 18 finalists give both a written speech and an impromptu speech, and had to give them a score from 1-100 (although we were asked not to give out scores lower than 75 because then the students would lose face.) It was interesting to hear all the speeches and get a Chinese perspective on things. When it was over, I was walking out with the other foreign judges and the guy who one 1st place (there was 1st place, and then grand prize, so he was like runner-up, I think) came up to me and said he would like my opinion on what he could do better!!! I thought he was joking at first, but he was very serious! To him it wasn’t enough that he had gotten 2nd place in the competition, and that definitely reminds me that people have a very different mindset here. Its very interesting to be able to experience this mindset.
Its been almost a month since I’ve eaten non-Chinese food, and I’m getting ready to splurge on a hamburger from Mc Donalds!! Some days it feels like I just got here, and some days it feels like I have been here for a long time already.
And now the best news I saved for last: I found an English teacher here thats actually from Germany!! She hasn’t lived there in a while so she feels like she is forgetting her German, so when she found out I speak German she got really excited, and then looked at her boyfriend and said “hey! We have a secret girl language now! Cooh huh?”
I’m making friends, with Chinese and westerners alike, and realizing this is a pretty perfect place for me!
Lots of Love from China! Ashley